Design Web Page

Once you know exactly what you intend to publish and who the targeted audience will be, the next step is to determine the mood of your page. Should the ambience be informal, professional or high tech? Will you use graphics, animation or music? How will the text be structured and which fonts will be used? How will visitors navigate through your site? Whatever you decide, try to maintain the same theme throughout your site.

The most important part of your page is the textual content. What you write should add value and make the visitor want to return. Review your web page objectives and targeted audience and make your message suit the audience. Don’t forget to run a spell check before publishing your page. At this point, focus on content! Publishing on the net is different from writing for a newspaper in that you are able to take advantage of multimedia capabilities.

Photos, graphics, music and video can make your site interesting. Be careful however, not to overdo it. Graphics, for example are often large files that take time to download. Most people won’t wait more than thirty seconds for a web page to load.

Animated graphics are actually small programs which also can take time to run on a computer that is slow or has insufficient memory (RAM). Don’t forget that personal computers, modems and versions of software differ among web users. A web page that runs well on your machine might not function well on another. When writing web pages, the golden rule is: Small is beautiful!

If you’re designing a personal web site or a site to sell your artistic talents by all means show off your talent in the way you design your web site. However, if you’re trying to sell commercial products to the general public keep your web design simple and easy to navigate. The internet as the rest of the world has enough starving “artists”. Don’t become one of them by placing “artistic style” ahead of good common advertising sense.

A note of good advice: The new Streaming Media and special effects such as “Flash” are wonderful to behold and are even quite entertaining if done well. However, if you are building a web site for the sale of E-Commerce services or products, you should consider not including Streaming or Flash due to the extreme download time associated with these programs at this time. If everyone used cable instead of phone modems to access the net then speed would not be a problem, but until then…

Potential customers that are looking for a service or product will have hundreds of choices of web sites available to choose from. Online polls have concluded that most customers (73%) will not wait for Flash and Streaming to load when seeking a service or product, but will simply click on the next web site listed in their search results. Also many browsers and personal computers are not equipped with the software necessary to play Streaming Media and a download of the current software would be required for your potential customer to see your web site.

You can find free graphics on the web by searching for “Index of GIF files” or “GIF library”. When you find something you like, copy it to a folder on your PC by right clicking on the graphic and selecting “copy”.

To find appropriate music, search for “midi” with the name of the singer or composer. The names of these two file types terminate with “.gif” and “.mid”. If you suspect that a graphic or song is copyrighted, you should ask permission from the owner before taking it. To keep life simple, all pictures, animations, graphics, music, etc. that you plan to use on your home page should be stored in the same directory as your main HTML program file.

If you haven’t already done so, create a directory on your hard drive to consolidate all the software components that you will use on your page. Set up different folders within your directories for ease of use such as, graphics with sub folders like photos, buttons, animations, banners, etc., make a separate folder for text content and so on.

The use of tables to group and align text can help make a page more attractive. Tables are fast to load and are easily generated from most HTML Editors. The spacing between cells and the border around the cells and table can be altered or made invisible. Text and graphics within table cells can be right justified, left justified or centered.